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332 Reviews of Books 

lish society before the Reformation was half as bad as he makes it out to 
be ; that the Puritans were bound to disappear because of their economic 
shortcomings and died like sheep of consumption ; that the " craze for 
agricultural improvement " in the eighteenth century was due to the mo- 
notony of country life ; that ' ' history has seldom risen above a chronicle 
of wars and disasters ' ' ; that historians do not know that discontent not 
poverty causes progress ; and that " all great writers are lazy." Yet we 
are asked to accept each of these and scores of others on Dr. Patten's 
ipse dixit. 

Dr. Patten's book is full of original comments and suggestive inter- 
pretations that will be willingly considered by every historical scholar. 
Two general conclusions, however, present themselves ; first, that Dr. 
Patten has unconsciously shaped his interpretation of history according 
to the theory that he has framed, has selected those phases of history and 
those views on debateable points that were most useful for his purpose, and 
has too frequently generalized from insufficient data; and secondly, that in 
the application of his theory he has narrowed his definition of environ- 
ment, and has exaggerated the importance of single economic factors, 
such as woolen clothes, the oven, the bath-tub, wheat, sugar, steady 
employment and three meals a day, and in so doing has filled his inter- 
pretation of history with a spirit of economic and psychic fatalism. In 
this day and generation, when the historian is beginning to recognize 
that no great event in history can be traced to a single cause, no matter 
how important that cause may be, it will not be deemed sufficient to offer 
such simple explanations as those with which Dr. Patten is content. The 
historian is not ready to give up the influence of individuals in history and 
to see his faith, his creed, his ideals, his art, and his literature merely the 
outcome of an economic surplus, the result of a new invention or of the 
introduction of a new element in the food supply. And that which is 
true of the economic interpretation is also true of the psychic ; prayer is 
more than a motor collapse, praise more than a motor outburst, the truth 
of doctrines and creeds more than a mere test as to whether a further de- 
velopment of the sensory powers is of greater social value than the further 
growth of the motor powers. Dr. Patten has given us throughout his 
work a series of explanations which are frequently sound and true, but 
which are in reality only a part of the great truth of history. The value 
of his work lies in the fact that the explanations he advances have never 
perhaps been so lucidly or convincingly presented before. 

Charles M. Andrews. 

Cosimo de'Medici. By K. Dorothea Ewart, late Scholar of Som- 

erville College, Oxford. [" Foreign Statesmen."] (London 

and New York : The Macmillan Co. 1899. Pp. viii, 240.) 

This latest volume of the Foreign Statesmen series can hardly be 

ranked among the best of the collection. There is labor, patience, and, 

on the whole, a good arrangement of very complex material, but the en- 



Ewart: Cosimo de Medici 333 

semble is not entirely satisfactory. In the first place it is to be regretted 
that the author does not supply either foot-notes or references, that is, 
that she does not put into the reader's hands anything of the necessary 
apparatus of criticism. There is indeed a list of authorities tacked apol- 
ogetically to the end, but it reveals itself on its face as an after-thought 
and stands in no visible connection with the text. Although I am 
aware that this practice is the rule with all the books of the series, and 
therefore not chargeable to the present author, it constitutes so serious a 
defect and subtracts so substantially from the value of the book for the 
student of history, that a reviewer is obliged to make mention of the 
matter. 

Probably the responsible editor of the Statesmen series intended to 
reach with the biographies the larger circle of non-professional readers, 
and for this reason he preferred that his authors turn out literary rather 
than historical productions. It is only fair then to adopt the literary 
point of view towards this book. Here again, however, one's satisfac^ 
tion is not unbounded. The material is fairly well distributed in chap- 
ters, and the facts of each chapter disclose, if no new sources of in- 
formation, at least care and judgment in handling the old ones, but the 
treatment as a whole lacks grasp and power. Granted that the under- 
taking was no easy one : to replace the blur of a great name with a bold 
literary portrait, accurately defining the Florentine citizen's characteristic 
modes of speech and action ; but why in the face of this task are we 
offered such paucity of personal material ? Occasionally an attempt is 
made in this kind, in Chapter VI., for instance, in which are enumerated 
some of Cosimo's striking phrases, every one of them tingling with pres- 
ent life and exhibiting a homely mixture of cynicism and kindly humor 
that somehow recalls our own Lincoln, but this effort is only a beginning 
and is not sustained. And now suppose that this chapter had been made 
a complete record of all the authentic sayings of the great banker and 
citizen, and suppose further that there had been added thereto all the 
personalia of whatever kind culled from the sculptors, painters, medal- 
lists, and memoir-writers of the time — here would have been as the re- 
sult of a mere compilation a valuable literary portrait ! It is curious 
that people familiar with the fifteenth century do not model themselves 
in their art a trifle more closely upon Cosimo's great friend, Donatello. 
To Donatello there was just one way of doing a portrait and that was to 
get in all the character possible. 

The author, like all writers on this period, lays a great deal of stress 
upon Cosimo's discovery of the principle of the balance of power 
(Chapter III.). The honor is vindicated for him against all comers 
with as much warmth as if it were a question of some great natural law 
like that of gravitation. For myself, I have never been able to see in 
the great " principle " anything but a convenient diplomatic phrase of 
the eighteenth century invented to fill up the gap between two pinches 
of snuff, and I find the conception quite as indefinable politically and 
diplomatically as the similar phrases of humanity and destiny, current in 



334 Reviews of Books 

our own day. Above all, I have utterly failed to observe that the 
" principle ' ' sheds any startling light over Cosimo's policy. He wanted 
peace, he needed allies to get it — that is the history of his foreign rela- 
tions in a nut-shell. If he could have got a peace alliance which em- 
braced all the five Italian powers instead of merely three, he would in all 
probability have accepted it without grumbling at the annihilation of the 
balance of power which such a league would have entailed. It saves 
trouble to recognize once for all and at the outset that the conduct of 
every Italian ruler of that day was cheap and shifty and will baffle the 
attempt to arrange it under any great moral or political concept. 

A feature of the book that will be thankfully received is a brief de- 
scription of the complex Florentine constitution (Chapter I.). Here 
and elsewhere occasional sentences suffer a little from an access of either 
mental or grammatical vertigo, and in several places a lawless imagina- 
tion needs to be subjected to the pruning-knife. Thus on p. 158 we 
hear of the Radicals misbehaving toward the Democrats in the United 
States, and on p. 210 we are invited to ponder the art of the Goths and 
Normans. 

Ferdinand Schwill. 

Martin Luther, The Hero of the Reformation, 14.83-154.6. By 
Henry Eyster Jacobs, Dean and Professor of Systematic Theol- 
ogy, Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, Philadelphia. [Heroes 
of the Reformation.] (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1898. 
Pp. xvi, 454.) 

Philip Melancthon, The Protestant Preceptor of Germany, T^py—ij6o. 
By James William Richard, D.D., Professor of Homiletics, 
Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg. [Same Series.] 
(New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1898. Pp. xvi, 399.) 
These two, the initial volumes of the series, set a high standard and 
give large promise for the remaining volumes. The Luther is richly 
illustrated with portraits of the leading personages mentioned, some of 
them rare, as that of Luther from the title-page of the Babylonian Captiv- 
ity, and all interesting, — the best we have, though the doubt will recur 
whether they afford any idea at all adequate or correct of the faces they 
represent. Numerous other illustrations of historical and antiquarian 
interest add to the value of the work. 

The story of Luther is not only that of the " Hero" of Protestantism, 
it is itself a romance. Told most literally and carefully, it can never lose 
its thrilling power while Protestant hearts continue to throb. It is little 
praise therefore to this particular telling of the story to say that it is in- 
tensely interesting from beginning to end. And when the present writer 
has little to say by way of mentioning striking peculiarities in the book, 
this is less to fail to praise this work than to give large praise to the long 
line of lives of Luther from the beginning to the present day. For this 
Life it may be fully claimed that it was written from the sources, that it